Saturday, March 28, 2020 and ProQuest Offers Temporary Remote Access of Ancestry Library Edition to Libraries that Currently Subscribe to ALE In-Library Use Only

Note: This post was originally published on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at 10:31 p.m. EDT. It has been updated to include recently released information.

Okay, Macomb County Genealogy Group Members it is time to take action!

Does the library your library card originates from have Ancestry Library Edition for use while in its library? If yes, and you want temporary remote access from home to Ancestry Library Edition ask your "home" library to request this temporary offer from Ancestry and ProQuest Library the provider of Ancestry Library Edition to libraries. The sooner you ask the sooner your library will hopefully start the request process.


Update Saturday, March 28, 2020, about 1:58 p.m.: We just learned from Theresa Mann at Mount Clemens Public Library that ALL libraries in the Suburban Library Cooperative as of today now have temporary remote access to Ancestry Library Edition for their respective library card holding patrons. The instructions we received were to sign into your library's website with your library card number and password and then on the left or right you should find a link to the Ancestry Library Edition. But you might have to search around for where your "home" library placed its link. Clinton-Macomb Public Library's is on the main page, just click the Research and choose Ancestry Library Edition from the drop down menu.


If you live in another county and the library that issued you a library card has Ancestry Library Edition for in-library use, ask your library to request the remote access offer too. Hopefully its website meets the requirements and you can eventually enjoy remote access too.

We will be creating an overview of Ancestry Library Edition (with how it differs from the personal home subscription version) very soon. Look for it on our new MCGG YouTube channel.

We know are MCGG members live in a variety of areas and their library cards come from a variety of libraries which is why we are letting you all know to request this from your home library.

Considering the situation we find ourselves in as a nation, it is a kind jester from and ProQuest. Not only can one spend some unexpected free time researching one's family but Ancestry has some teacher-created lesson plans for various grade levels to keep your children engaged. See our previous post on March 25.

Library websites do have to meet certain requirements in order to qualify. Hopefully your home library's website does and they take action to request this offer which is currently set run through the end of April. But you need to ask your library to take action.

We know our favorite library, Mount Clemens Public Library, is working on getting this temporary access but it is not a done deal yet.

At the present time we know the following libraries in the Suburban Cooperative Library system (yes, we checked all of the websites/Facebooks), have received temporary remote access to Ancestry Library Edition for their respective library card holding patrons:

Clinton-Macomb Public Library (as of March 26)
This resource, usually only available [while in CMPL] at the library, is now available from the comfort of your home for a limited time. Access this from the library's homepage. Select the Research tab and select (Library Edition) from the menu. You will need to sign in with your barcode and PIN. 

Troy Public Library (as of March 25?)
It looks like Troy Public Library has also got the okay. It appears if Troy is your home library the access point is from the library's home page in the "rotating cards" at the top of the page. We say it appears because the text in the "rotating card" does not give a lot of information.

We will update this post as we learn of any other local libraries participating.

In the meantime, you can get temporary free access at to certain National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) digitized records thanks to cooperation with the National Archives. See our March 25 post for details and how to get free access. 

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

MCGG Creates YouTube Channel, Other Genealogy-Related Stuff to Occupy Time

Note: This post was originally posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at 6:29 p.m. EDST. It was updated to confirm how to access the temporarily free record collections at website.

Hi Everyone!

We hope you are staying safe and are well. Besides doing what we need to and have to do, as some are able to do so they are filling time with genealogy doing things like actually doing their own genealogy, cleaning up and organizing their genealogy, and/or taking some time for some genealogy education.

Take a look around and you will find a variety of free things genealogy related. We will list some that we have found here but take a look around yourself at your favorite sites to see what is out there and available to you.

First off, we want to tell you about our new Macomb County Genealogy Group YouTube Channel. It is free and available for anyone to view. We have started off with three Tech Tips videos. The first (about 12 minutes long) is on how to do a Screenshot on Windows and Mac computers. The second (about 2 minutes long) is on adding the Calculator and Character Map to either your Start Menu or Taskbar on your Windows computer. The third (about three minutes long) is on printing a website page as a PDF file. While it is demonstrated on a Windows computer, the technique can be used on a Mac as well.

For Michigan residents, please remember that through the Michigan Electronic Library aka you have free access from home to a variety of databases including MyHeritage Library Edition. There are lots of databases there to search.
Today, announced on its Ancestry blog that it is making teacher-developed lesson plans available for free for anyone to download, covering a range of educational topics for various ages. Ancestry has collaborated with the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration to offer temporary free access to millions of historical records and images from the federal government. And says it will continue providing free online tutorials and video courses to help people get started with family tree building. A list of lesson plans and more information can be found as well as a sampling of the temporary free access collections here. There are also free videos explaining getting started with family history in the Ancestry Academy. Ancestry's promotion says you just need to provide your email to take advantage of the completely free promotion.

While a link to create free username/membership was not given, do remember that usually a free username will not request your credit card information. Do not click on the free trial because that will require your credit card information. This page here is often the one needed to create a free username (no credit card) but sometimes Ancestry has a special search page where the free access is given. We will update this when we confirm the method to access the free records offer. Another website has said the search/index is free but to access the images you have to do the free trial which is not free if you forget to cancel before you are charged. If you already have a guest/free username account you can sign in and see if you can access the temporarily free collections. Update: On March 26, 2020, at 4:07 p.m. ESDT. we have personally confirmed if you already have a free username account meaning one without a paid data membership (or create one using the link above meaning not the free trail membership that asks for your credit card information) you can access the temporarily free collections and see the record images. This was tested by signing into a free username account that does not have a paid data membership and searching a few of the collections appearing in the sample listing of temporarily free collections. Record images were viewable from the search result lists. So get searching!

Family Tree Magazine
Family Tree Magazine is giving its March/April 2020 issue in digital (PDF) form away for free. Here is the link to the PDF. The issue's main article is a comparison of the four major genealogy websites. Along with a Roundup of Free Online Record Collections.

Family Tree Webinars
Legacy Family Tree Webinars almost always has its latest webinar free to view for a week after its initial live presentation. This week's webinar today was on Using the website. Did you know Family Tree Webinars also has a variety of recorded webinars available for free anytime. Just to to the Webinar Library tab and select View All - Free. On March 12th of this month Family Tree Webinars hosted a 24 hour marathon of live webinars, and now all these marathon recordings are available to view for free thru April 6, 2020. So, take some time to learn something new. has decided to make its MyHeritage in Color feature free and unlimited for one month (until April 22, 2020) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See its blog post for details. MyHeritage in Color takes scans of black and white photos and colorizes them. Normally only 10 photos can be colorized by anyone without a Complete subscription plan. is a website of the Evangelical Church of Germany where church books from the various regional churches are digitized and placed online for family researchers to access and view. The site is in German with some English translated pages. For four weeks from March 31 to April 27, 2020, there will be a sale on access Passes. A one-month pass regularly 19,90 Euro will be 17,90 Euro; a three-month pass regularly 52,20 Euro will be 43,50 Euro; a one-year pass regularly 178,80 Euro will be 139 Euro. The passes do not auto-renew and each pass allows only a certain number of image downloads. See details on the site's Available Passes page.

You are able to browse the contents of the website. The church books are organized first by the regional holding archive and the regional division and the parish location where you can then see what records types and time periods are available. At this time the digitized church records are mostly not electronically index so this is a browse and manually search like you would have done in the days of microfilm.

We can not list every offer out there so keep an eye out for the websites you visit and use.

Stay Safe Everyone!

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Our April 8th MCGG Let's Talk...Genealogy Meeting is Cancelled -- Be Safe Everyone!

Due to the expanded COVID-19/Coronavirus safety measures, many more group events are being cancelled.  The State of Michigan has issued shelter in place orders until April 13 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19/Coronavirus now labeled a pandemic.

Mount Clemens Public Library has announced it will remain closed until April 13. At that time the situation will be reviewed. 

As a result, the following Macomb County Genealogy Group events are cancelled:

MCGG Let's Talk...Genealogy discussion group meeting, Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Other local groups and meeting locations will likely announce similar cancellations. We will try to note which ones but to be absolutely sure, please check the website of each particular group and/or location as to whether the group or the group's meeting location has cancelled a particular meeting.

Stay Safe Everyone!

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

Our Favorite Library, Mount Clemens Public Library, is Closed until April 13, 2020; Plans are to Reopen When Safer

A photo of our favorite library in a prior year.


We just learned that our favorite library, Mount Clemens Public Library, will now be closed until April 13, 2020, due to the additional precautions (shelter in place) to help reduce the spread of the COVID19/Coronavirus. Like other businesses, MCPL will reopen when the State of Michigan determines it is safer.

The message can be seen on the library's Facebook page (Yes, you can see it without being a member of Facebook.) or the library's website.

Stay safe and healthy; we will see you again.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Genealogy Software Choices

The last time we wrote a post on genealogy software and online trees was back in January 2017 -- a little more than three years ago. It seems like a good time to do an update article. Of course, as soon as we hit the publish button some publisher out there will announce an update or upgrade. Since we can not control that we present what we know as of today.

What can I use to keep track of all of this?

For anyone that does not use a computer, the answer is the various genealogy forms in the MCGG Beginner's Packet available on our Research Help page.

For anyone with computer access, the answer to that is an online genealogy tree and/or a genealogy software/program for your computer. Several options exist and which one to use depends on how you work and think, and how you feel about sharing/privacy.

We suggest investigating your options. If a program looks like a possibility for you and it has a free option then try the free version out. If you decide you like it, then decide if the pay version is worthwhile for you or not. Ask a variety of our MCGG members what they use when you attend one of our meetings. If they have their laptop with them, they might even demonstrate the program they have chosen to use. [Note: We know that can not happen at this time due to the current national emergency so feel free to ask questions in the comment area and we will try to answer them.] 

So what is out there for keeping track of things?

Online trees come in two forms.
  • Personal trees which you control (add/delete/edit) often have privacy settings that can be set to public (anyone can see it) or private (only you or those you invite can see it) depending on how you feel about sharing/privacy. Online trees at websites like, and websites are examples of this.
  • Collaborative/Community trees which are an online shared tree meaning everyone works on the same tree that allows anyone to add/delete/edit any person. Online trees at and are examples of this.

Most websites with online trees have some privacy controls that keep information on living persons private. Generally online trees have fewer charting and reporting options than those in genealogy software. Additionally there are sometimes fewer events/fact fields to chose from and fewer source citing options. The advantage is that you often can access an online tree from a variety of devices not just a specific device. The disadvantage is that you have to have internet access to access an online tree.

Desktop genealogy software is made by a variety of software publishers.

Generally desktop genealogy software has more charting and reporting options than online trees. There is often more event/fact fields to use and more source citing options. By having your tree on your computer you control access, adds, deletes, and changes to the information in it. Another advantage is that you can see and work on your tree without the internet if needed. A disadvantage is that often the genealogy software tree is strictly on one computer or involves some effort to move a tree to another computer.

Almost all genealogy software has a website devoted to providing information about the program, sales and customer service. Take a look at them to learn of each program's features and how the program's interface looks/works. Some companies have overview, feature and how-to videos on their websites or a YouTube channel and these are good ways to get the feel of how a program works.

Most genealogy software is distributed by online download but some offer the option to purchase the software on a CD or USB drive for an extra fee. Also, printed software manual books are usually an option for a fee though most are e-books/PDF files now. Remember, genealogy software (downloaded or on a physical device) is a one-time purchase not a subscription with annual costs. Only when a major upgrade to a program (i.e. version 7 to version 8) is released by a software company is there an additional upgrade cost. Minor updates (i.e. version 7.2 to version 7.4) to a program are usually free. And always remember to make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements to run the software you are considering purchasing.

To find past posts on genealogy software, just click on the label "Genealogy Software" in the left-hand column to see just those posts using that label. Generally a download of a program costs less than a program on CD or USB drive which has to be physically delivered.

Family Tree Maker
Family Tree Maker is not dead in case you had not heard. It is now a product of the Software MacKiev company. There is a Windows version and Mac version of Family Tree Maker 2019 program which costs $79.95 for one computer license. If you want the program on a CD or USB drive there is an extra charge. If you have an earlier version of Family Tree Maker, you can get an upgrade to the new version generally for a lower cost by signing up for the FTM mailing list.

Currently, Family Tree Maker is one of only two genealogy program that syncs with the online trees, and the only program that lets you merge records by searching from within the program. It also works with the Ancestry Hints (Shaky Leaves) feature. It has a variety of charts and reports and has an interactive location map. MacKiev has a Frequently Asked Questions page regarding and support pages for Family Tree Maker.

There are two optional, plug-ins available for purchase for the Windows version: Charting Companion and Family Book Creator.

Legacy Family Tree
Legacy 9
Legacy Family Tree 9 is the product of Millennia company, which also produces the Legacy Family Webinars. Both were purchased by MyHeritage in August 2017. Legacy is a currently still a Windows only program that comes in a free Standard version and a pay (starting at $29.95 for a download) Deluxe version. At one time, we understand a Mac version might be in the works too though news on that front is lacking.

The Standard version is a full-feature program that has no limitations on how many individuals can be entered. Purchasing the Deluxe version unlocks almost one hundred advanced features, like mapping, a Source Writer, interview reports, and powerful search capabilities for within your tree file.

There is a features overview and both a webpage tour (click on any screen image to enlarge it) and a video tour of the program. Also, at Legacy Family Webinars there are additional free videos on various Legacy features.

RootsMagic 7
RootsMagic has both a free version, RootsMagic Essentials, and a pay ($29.95) version, RootsMagic 7, of its product. The company also has a Mac version of the RootsMagic 7 software. Just two days ago it announced support for Mac OS 10.15 Catalina. The release of RootsMagic 8 is expected in the near future but an exact release date has not been announced. RootsMagic is the other genealogy software program can can sync with an Ancestry member tree. The how of the sync is different from the way the other software program syncs.

According to its blog, the company has set up a special website that includes training videos and more.

RootsMagic has also created "Magic Guides" on a variety of topics like importing data from Family Tree Maker 2008 and later, importing data from Family Tree Maker 2006 and older as well as media import from Family Tree Maker.

RootsMagic Essentials is promoted as containing many of the core features of the pay version. The RootsMagic 7 product page gives an overview of the pay versions features and includes a link to new features as well.

MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder 8 
Family Tree Builder 7.0
Family Tree Builder (FTB) is the free genealogy database program of the website. Its latest version 8 supports up to hundreds of thousands individuals. A few features from version 7 are temporarily disabled while they are being worked on.

According to its overview, Family Tree Builder (FTB) supports over 40 languages; has a PC and Mac version; creates charts; has a maps feature; can be linked to a private family site (free and pay site); has SmartMatches Technology, Record Matching Technology and Instant Discoveries (when used with a MyHeritage data subscription); and more.

More details can be learned on version 8's initial announcement page from 2016. One thing the company does not mention is the program's sourcing and citation features which are really important if you are serious about your genealogy.

Family Historian 
Family Historian 6
Calico Pie Ltd., the makers of Family Historian 6 hail from the United Kingdom.

Several webpages have been created with Family Tree Maker users in mind. There is a welcome page, user questions page,  as well as a guide to migrating from FTM to FH.

There is also a screenshot tour as well as a video tour of the program. Videos are also available on the software's YouTube channel.

Family Historian does offer a 30-day trail of the program after which a license to the program must be purchased ($46.50 USD for download version) to continue using it. We are not sure if there are customer service issues with the time difference between the United States and United Kingdom.

Ancestral Quest 14
Incline Software are the makers of  Ancestral Quest 16 which has a Windows and Mac version of the program. The program has a variety of features and has been described by some as an alternative to the old, discontinued Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software. There are a variety of tutorials on the website also. Some tutorials are for older versions but the basics of them still apply to the current version.

Incline has an Ancestral Quest Basics version (for Windows or Mac) that is free. It is fully functioning but does not contain all the "bells and whistles" of Ancestral Quest 16 which begins at $34.95 for the download Windows version and $44.95 for the download Mac version.

Heredis 2020
Heredis is the product of a French company and the program is available for Windows and Mac. The current version is Heredis 2020 which is regularly $29.99 for Windows download, $49.99 for Mac download and $69.99 for a Windows & Mac download. There is a free trial version limited to 50 persons.

There is a page devoted to highlighting the new features of Heredis 2020 and a page devoted to highlighting all the features of the program.

Brother's Keeper 
Brother's Keeper 7.
Brother's Keeper 7.4 is a stand alone genealogy program that is actually shareware. According to its website, the program works on a variety of windows operating systems, but there is no Mac version. Brother's Keeper has 18 foreign language versions as well as many features.

The program's reports capabilities have been described as highly customizable and the program easy to use. 

Because Brother's Keeper is shareware you can download a trial version and try it before you buy it for $45.00 with printed manual and CD or USB drive. The trial version is not limited by size or time but purchasing the program unlocks a lot more features.

MacFamilyTree (for Mac only)

MacFamilyTree 9
Synium, a company in Germany, is the maker of MacFamilyTree 9 which is available in 16 languages. The company does not make a Windows version of the software.

Version 9 costs $59.99 and is exclusively available in the Mac App Store. It is the largest update to date and includes a new user interface. The features have been detailed on its website and a variety of screen shots can seen at the website. There are tutorial videos on its website. An overview and a support tutorial videos are on the company's Youtube channel.

MacFamilyTree also has a demo version of the program so you can try the program out but it does not allow you to save, print or use CloudTree Sync.

Reunion (for Mac only) 
Reunion 12
Leister Pro. is the maker of Reunion 12 software for Mac. The company does not make a windows version of the program.

The program, which costs $99.00,  has many features/capabilities and website has many tutorial videos. New features for version 12 are also highlighted.

There is a demo version that let's you play around with the program a little bit. You are limited to entering 50 individuals; import/export is locked; charts and slideshows can not be saved; and printed output contains a watermark. Purchasing a license unlocks the full features of the program.

Lastly, with any company's genealogy software you investigate, do not be afraid to contact the company and ask your questions about their software and its capabilities.
See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Our Favorite Library, Mount Clemens Public Library, is Closed until April 5, 2020; Plans are to Reopen April 6. 2020

We just learned that our favorite library, Mount Clemens Public Library, has decided to close until April 5, 2020, as a precaution to help reduce the spread of the COVID19/Coronavirus. MCPL plans to reopen on April 6, 2020.

The message can be seen on the library's Facebook page. (Yes, you can see it without being a member of Facebook.)

Stay safe and healthy; we will see you next month.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!

Please Note: Remaining March MCGG Meetings are Cancelled, Some Other Group Meetings are Cancelled too

Note: Originally posted on March 12, 2020, at 8:28 p.m. Eastern Time.

Due to the rapidly developing changes with the COVID-19/Coronavirus now labeled a pandemic, many group events are being cancelled as a precaution to help reduce the chance of community spread.

Mount Clemens Public Library has cancelled all of its programs and all group events scheduled to be held in the library's meeting rooms until March 31, 2020. At that time the situation will be reviewed. Normal library services/hours continue at this time with some restrictions.

As a result, the following Macomb County Genealogy Group events are cancelled:

MCGG Board Meeting, Tuesday, March 17, 2020
MCGG Resource Development Meeting, Friday, March 20, 2020

MCGG Friday Group Meeting, Friday April 3, 2020 (We will reschedule the speaker at a later date.)

Other local groups and meeting locations have announced similar cancellations. We will try to note which ones but to be absolutely sure, please check the website of each particular group and/or location as to whether the group or the group's meeting location has cancelled a particular meeting.

Stay Safe Everyone!

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!